What is Mulch?
Mulch is any material placed on the soil surface to conserve moisture, lower soil temperatures around plant roots, prevent erosion and reduce weed growth.
Most water loss by evaporation from the soil IS PREVENTED BY MULCH!
Mulching is essential to the survival of your landscape during a drought. Mulch will reduce the amount of water that evaporates from your soil, greatly reducing your need to water your plants. Mulch insulates and protects soil from drying and hard-baking effects caused by evaporation of water from soil exposed to hot sun and winds.
Benefits of Mulch
Wood or bark chip mulch is great around trees, shrubs, perennials, and small fruits. Wood/bark chip mulch creates a favorable environment for earthworms and soil microorganisms. Over time, this helps reduce soil compaction. Mulch improves the quality of your soil by breaking up clay and allowing better water and air movement through the soil. Mulch provides nutrients to sandy soil and improves its ability to hold water.
In perennial and shrub beds, wood/bark chips can reduce the need for irrigation by as much as 50%. Mulching materials that mesh together are more effective at reducing water evaporation from the soil especially during drought conditions.
When placed on the soil surface as mulch, wood/bark chips act as an insulator, keeping the soil and roots cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Mulch keeps weeds down, and the weeds that do grow are much easier to pull. Before applying mulch, remove weeds and water thoroughly, this will help you get the most benefit from your new mulch.